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Business outlook

Switzerland's auction for third generation mobile phone licences is due to begin on Monday, and the markets are keeping their attention on telecommunications stocks.

Shares in the sector have performed in a lacklustre fashion over the last few months as companies across Europe have gone on a wild spending spree to secure one of the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) licences.

Shares could take a tumble if markets think the auction is reaching unwarranted heights here in Switzerland.

In corporate news, Sika comes through with its third quarter figures this week. Sika employs around 7,000 people and is active in the research, manufacture and marketing of building chemicals and other services for the construction industry.

The company should be reaping the benefits of the construction boom currently underway in Switzerland.

Chocolate producer, Barry Callebaut, comes through with its annual figures on Tuesday. The company is one of the world’s market leaders in the manufacture of chocolate for industrial and consumer goods.

Trading in Syngenta shares begins this week. Syngenta is the result of a merger between the agribusinesses of Novartis and the Anglo-Swedish company, AstraZeneca.

A secondary share offering in “Unique Zurich Airport” also enters the market on Thursday. That’s a result of the cantonal authorities cutting their stake in the airport from 78 per cent to 50 per cent.

And Thursday sees the fortnightly meeting of the European Central Bank where the board sets the bank’s interest rates. The ECB has shown itself increasingly prepared to intervene to back the euro but most analysts expect interest rates to remain unchanged for the time being.

by Michael Hollingdale

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR